Ecumenical Patriarch opposes plan to make historic church a mosque
August 17, 2012
Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople has staked out his opposition to a plan by the Turkish government to convert an ancient church in the town of Trabzon into a mosque.
Turkey’s vice-president Bulent Arinc has proposed that the Aghia Sophia of Trabzon (not to be confused with the Hagia Sophia in Contantinople, another ancient church that became a mosque and is now a museum) be made a mosque. The Ecumenical Patriarch objected to the proposal, saying that the building should remain an architectural witness to the Christian presence, which was eventually reduced by genocide as well as Islamic conquest.
Islamic leaders in Trabzon have said that they have no need for a new mosque in the city.